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Debate: vkey08 vs. Sheepslayer247: The US Postal Service Should Go

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posted on Feb, 1 2013 @ 12:35 PM
Thank you once again for allowing us to debate, it's always a blast, and this time shall be no less entertaining than others, even thought he subject to be debated, should be a no-brainer..That being said...

The US Postal Service Should Go.

Oh should it ever. Have you even tried to send mail recently? While in certain parts of the country, service seems to be normal and without issues, other parts of the country have serious problems getting mail delivered in the same town, why is this? The Postal Service, one of the largest organizations in the world for moving mail and packages, has even gone back on it's guarantee of 1-2 day service for First Class regular letters, and Express Mail to most locations, it may take 3-4 days now.. Hmm? But they raise the rates every time we turn around, and keep talking about how they have to close plants and offices, and lay off carriers and sorters.

So is the USPS a relic of a time long gone? Can the USPS services be better served by regional and long haul carriers (such as UPS/FedEX/DHL), as well as e-mail and electronic filing? The Simple answer of course is yes, and in this debate I hope to show why, the USPS is a relic, it is outdated, and the nostalgia has long since worn off this now hopelessly broken service of a bygone era..
edit on 11-2-2013 by Skyfloating because: title edit

posted on Feb, 1 2013 @ 10:51 PM
Thanks to ATS, the readers and vkey08 for the opportunity to bring you another fine debate from the ATS debate forums. As always, I hope to enlighten and entertain.

The US Postal Service Should Go

Communication is key!

A vital part of the human existence is the need to communicate, for a variety of reasons, with our fellow human beings. Whether it's a letter from Grandma stuffed with birthday cash or a letter from the IRS threatening to take your paycheck, we can rely on the mail being in the box everyday....except Sunday of course, to help us communicate in a way that is not only old-fashioned, but timeless.

But can e-services and private industry provide what the post office can? Does big business have the infrastructure in place or the necessary resources to undertake something so bold and essential that the Founding Fathers included it into the Constitution?

I think not.

Through Rain, Snow, Sleet.....or Hell?

Throughout this debate, my opponent will undoubtedly mention the financial state of the USPS and the mismanagement from within both the USPS, and the halls of Congress that has oversight. There is no arguing that the current political spectrum and economic tides seem to have had a serious effect on not only the Postal Service, but the private sector as well. Whether it's a government agency or a sandwich shop down on 5th St., bureaucracy stifles the ability to profit on the free market.

So why is the Post Office losing money when even the private industries can eek out a dollar in such volatile economic times?

Fact is: It's not!

"But it is billions is debt and can't make it's payments", you may say to yourself.

The USPS, when looking at the facts and real numbers, are only running a small deficit.....contrary to popular belief and there are specific reasons for that.

One of those reasons is that the USPS is required to make payments towards the retirement funds of future retirees.


These are not people that are currently retired and receive benefits from the Post Office. These are payments they are required to make, by the government, to fund the retirement of people that may not even work for the USPS currently.

UPS, FedEx and others are not required to make such payments.

Also, the USPS is not allowed to change rates as the market flows, as private industry is allowed to do. Instead they must go through a prolonged and politicized process that cannot quickly adapt to current market environments.

UPS, FedEx and others can!

In light of all this new information, we can say that it is not the USPS that needs to go, but all of the red-tape and politicization of a service that would otherwise profit handsomely. If anything we should stand in awe at the fact the USPS is still functioning today, despite a system designed in way to destroy it.

If given the opportunity, could the private sector prevail in squashing these bureaucratic demons?

I can easily say NO!

If a private sector entity was allowed to take over such an enormous project, they would be bound to stipulations and criteria that they could not afford....and I would be surprised if the smart businessperson would take on such a challenge.

In closing, let me reiterate that it would be a detriment to the communication needs of the US to allow such a well-designed system that is not only already in place, but also poised to profit well if only they were able to shake the political shenanigans that also takes a hefty toll on the private sector as well.

The stage now belongs to vkey08.......thanks for reading!

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 08:35 AM
I applaud my opponent on assuming exactly what my argument will be,however he was dead wrong, and I was attempting to shy away from the Retirement debacle that the Postal Service was forced into by Congress, as it is not relevant to rude carriers, days upon days with no delivery, sorting delays, ISC's that are overworked, understaffed and cause lengthy delays in customs, misreported mail due to faulty machines, the list goes on, none of this, has to do with the fact that the USPS is a perfect model of how not to deliver mail.

There are at any given time, at least 300,000 pages that come up on google, if you search for complaints with the service the USPS provides. For an agency that is supposed to move first class letters, bills, et al to the majority of the United States, they come up short every time, they raise our rates and extend delivery times, the two don't logically go together unless there's some mysterious force at work behind the scenes at the Postal Service that we the People aren't aware of, but it's not so mysterious.

Like any large business, the Postal Service has become top heavy, more management, less grunts. Where there are grunts they are very unionized, which causes management to have to make decisions and make them so they don't upset the labor unions, this in turn, forces the hands of the Advisory Board that oversees operations and the Postmaster General who has the absolute worst job known to man today, keeping people happy while still keeping to the traditions and speed that the USPS was known for. However.................

Here's some interesting complaint headlines from various sites about the USPS:

USPS - What are they still using pony express?

USPS - Horrible automated assistance,UNfriendly & unprofessional staff

USPS - Package marked "do not bend", bent inside mailbox

USPS - Used Forever stamp and it took forever to arrive.

and my favorite so far of the bunch

The USPS needs an enema!

300,000 results.. Something's wrong folks, and it's not due to Retirement Accounts or Hemorrhaging money, it's basic not keeping up with the times, too little too late (most times too late in their case) and mail just simply not getting where it's going that's why the postal service must go.. Either keep up and deliver or just fold up and let the other companies that can do it, do it...

Socratic Question: Should the Postal Service be considered like a bank, too big to fail, or should it be treated like any other business, if it can't deliver on it's promises, close it up and start anew...

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 05:17 PM
I have learned my lesson when it comes to Socratic let me address it right off the bat.

Socratic Question: Should the Postal Service be considered like a bank, too big to fail, or should it be treated like any other business, if it can't deliver on it's promises, close it up and start anew...

The banks were in severe financial trouble, unlike the USPS, and were given taxpayer money to stay afloat. So "too big to fail" surely does not apply.

A business that has issues meeting their obligations in the services they provide does not necessarily have to close their doors and "start anew".

There are other viable options that are more feasible. Such as a change in management philosophy or fixing broken links in the delivery chain. Simply throwing the USPS under the bus just because they are experiencing problems that even the private sector must endure does not mean we must throw our hands in the air and let a well-designed system, that is already in place, go the way of the Dodo.

Going Postal!

If this entire debate comes down to rude postal employees, issues with deliveries and such, I would challenge my opponent to find a private organization that can boast about a better customer service record or claim to be better in delivering packages without problems.

Sure, you may have found 300,000 hits on Google of complaints against the USPS but they are quite a large institution and complaints are inevitable. But can the alternatives, UPS/FedEx do a better job?

Since my opponent has set the standard that Google hits are indicative of an entities ability to provide quality service, let's type in "complaints against UPS" into a Google search. In doing so, you would now see 10,400,000 web pages that match that very search term. Replace UPS with FedEx and you have 1,790,000 hits!

Let's also not forget little gems like this:

Like any large business, the Postal Service has become top heavy, more management, less grunts.

* emphasis is mine*

Even you recognize the faults within big business as well. The problems the USPS faces will not be magically taken care of if the mail service is taken over by corporate entities.

In closing this post, I would ask my opponent to share with us exactly whom is in a position to replace the services provided by the USPS. What organization has the money and infrastructure in place to take over a such a well-designed system that took many, many years to build..... can provide better customer service (since this is what my opponent finds important) and yet can provide letter services 6 days a week for less than 50 cents?

Also, would it not make more financial business sense to simply "change the flat tire" instead of reinventing the wheel it rides on?

Batter-up, vkey08!

posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 07:57 AM
reply to post by sheepslayer247

Ahh my opponent has obviously not heard of using examples, so let's dive a little deeper in and examine his fixes one by one shall we..

1) Reorganization. They have tried it, it didn't work, that was the reason in 1996 for opening the various ISC (International Sorting Centers) to try and fix a problem with international mail taking absolutely forever. It however has caused a much worse backlog in international mail, and mail, say from the UK that Royal Mail has an agreement to handle as priority once it gets here, is now just being handled as First Class, because the USPS can't handle the extra work involved.

2) Feeding more money into upgrades. Doesn't work, as we have all seen the Postal Service tried to upgrade to machine sorters. This is great for little letters and stuff that's not over a legal envelope size but once you get past that, the machines jam, tear and rip apart mail, and it causes more delays than it's worth.

3) Partnering with the other carriers. They are attempting to do this now, FedEx and UPS both have a service that starts out in their system but is delivered at the end by the local Post Offices. And while the material moves swiftly through UPS and FedEx's systems, once it hits the USPS it is stalled for up to a week while they decide what to do with the packages, some of which carriers just don't want to deliver.

4) Raise the rates!!! They do this all the time claiming they have to. Well if they aren't in financial trouble, why do they need more money from us to pass the mail?

There is only one solution, replace the United States Postal Service with a new National Mail Service that is built from the ground up, from scratch and is designed with the needs if the 21st century in mind. There is nothing in the Postal Clause of the Constitution that prohibits Congress from doing this, or temporarily while they make a new service, passing off the burden to private carriers, such as FedEx and DHL, both of whom are known for their speedy international delivery as well as being able to move large quantities of materials from coast to coast sometimes in the same day. Our current system is horribly broken, patching it hasn't worked, reorganization has failed miserably and well service has suffered.

As my carrier put it the other day as he delivered a small package that took about a month from London to here.. "It's just gonna get worse" And I think we are seeing that now....

Back to my opponent

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 11:07 AM

There is only one solution, replace the United States Postal Service with a new National Mail Service that is built from the ground up, from scratch and is designed with the needs if the 21st century in mind.

I guess I am a little confused.

On one hand, my opponent wishes to have the postal service taken over by private industry, on the other....start "from scratch".

What we need to realize here is that the solution will not find itself rising from the ash heap left over from the destruction of the Postal Service, nor in the boardrooms of corporate America. The system we need is already in place, with a solid infrastructure that could not be easily torn down and rebuilt quickly and effectively by any means without having a disastrous effect on services.

My opponent has failed to address key issues that I have brought to her attention.

Such as:

What business or organization has the funds and necessary resources to undertake such a large-scale operation as the USPS?

How would they be able to keep the fees relatively low?


How would customer service be improved?

The questions are quite simple to answer........No corporate entity or organization has the funds or resources required to take over letter service from the USPS.

As we have seen with most corporate entities, low cost for the customer is rarely a dire concern. Instead of a board of governors to oversee the USPS decisions, you will have a board of directors in charge with the sole purpose of making a profit.

Lastly, customer service is close to being a thing of the past. Sure, the USPS has some rude carriers but so does UPS, FedEx and all of the other carriers. As I have shown in previous posts, these big business' have just as bad, if not worse, customer satisfaction rating then the Postal Service.


In closing, let me emphasize that no one is in the position to carry on in their place if we were to shut down the USPS. A system that has been many decades, if not hundreds of years, in the making (and is still evolving as needed) is not so easily discarded and handed over to the throes of corporate America.

Yes, there are problems within the USPS. I concede that point and has never been the real issue. But these are issues that even the big-name private carriers endure as well and it is illogical to think that it is possible to "start from scratch" when the system in place in place took many, many years to construct.

So we can speculate and complain all we want......the USPS will not be shut down, mail service will continue on and even though we have issues from time to time, we will be glad we have the current system when our mail gets delivered to our door...just as we have come to expect.

Thanks to vkey08 for a great debate and I leave this in the hands of the judges!

posted on Feb, 10 2013 @ 08:22 AM
Judgment 1:

This debate was rather difficult to judge, based mostly on opinion and speculation, with few hard facts thrown in. A few charts or graphs depicting numbers would have been very useful in determining whether the Postal Service is still a viable government entity, or if perhaps a private organization such as DHL, FedEx, or UPS would be a feasible alternative. With a debate that completely lacks any sourced material, the only alternative is to rule by a point-counterpoint method, and to judge the participants accordingly.

Opening, vkey08, points:

1. The USPS has sporadic service, depending on local.
2. E-mail and E-filing has reduced the needs of the general population.
3. The USPS is an outdated relic.

Opening, sheepslayer247, counterpoints:

1. The USPS is a tradition, and framed in the Constitution.
2. E-services can't provide the same benefits, no infrastructure.
3. Privatization would yield no better results.

Round one was nicely done, save the lack of sourced links for information, but this error by sheepslayer247,
So why is the Post Office losing money...?

Fact is: It's not!

But it is billions is debt and can't make it's payments

and then continuing with an explanation of the USPS Retirement Fund, for future employees, actually negates his position and reinforces his opponent's. Round one to vkey08.

Main, vkey08, points:

1. Postal rates are raised, and delivery times are extended, but service doesn't improve.
2. Complaints about service are rampant.
3. A poorly functioning business should be replaced.

Main, sheepslayer247, counterpoints:

1. Restructuring is required for service to improve. The infrastructure in place simply needs re-worked.
2. Private organizations have MORE complaints.
3. Problems will still exist, regardless of Government or Private ownership.
4. The USPS took years to build, and has solid infrastructure. A private entity would not have the resources to do the job properly. Round 2 to sheepslayer247.

Closing, vkey08, points:

1. Reorganization doesn't work. Well made point with a reference to ISCs.
2. Upgrades to infrastructure are ineffective as a solution.
3. Outsourcing to private carriers is effective, but the USPS bottleneck remains.
4. Create a new service that deals with the needs of the modern era. This could've been expounded upon by stating that most "letters" now are in the form of e-mails, so the actual focus of the National Mail Service should be on packages and oversized letters, as the typical letter delivery service the USPS was founded upon has been replaced by the equivalent of the electronic version of the same.

Closing, sheepslayer247, counterpoints:

1. There is no organization, private or otherwise, that can do the job of the USPS.
2. Not countered. Rhetoric is introduced supporting his position, but mostly just re-iteration of previously made comments.
3. Not countered.
4. Not countered. sheepslayer247 fell a bit flat after round two, and would have done well to offer solutions to the current dilemma the USPS currently faces. As an advocate in this debate for the USPS, the possibility existed for him to explain that with any government agency, redress of issues can be handled by your local PostMaster, at your local PO, if there is a complaint about service. He may have referenced the fact that the US government has many websites available, and that in the modern electronic age, you can file complaints online, as well. With complaints about service being the premise of this debate, nothing was said about the current methods of rectifying said complaints, and including links to such resources would've been beneficial to all that read this debate.

Round three to vkey08, and the debate as well.

posted on Feb, 10 2013 @ 08:36 AM
Judgment 2:

Round 1

Vkey08 opens with a short, but to the point statement regarding the postal service, pointing out 3 or 4 trouble spots in the service..I would like to have had a bit more information about these problems. For me this was a case that shorter may not be better

Very strong and well laid out opening, not addressing the problems pointed out by vkey08 directly, did a good job setting up a defense...however..when talking about the Facts of the money issue, I would like to see evidence of those facts

Round 1 I would give to sheepslayer

Round 2:
vkey08 comes across just a tad hostile at first, she pushes ahead with the complaints she started with in her first post, doing a great job, until she started quoting some complaints, for anyone to see if those complaints carried much value, would need to see the source, and we do not..

Sheepslayer247: enters this round and gets right to the point, answering the question raised by vkey08
sheep does a great job of countering the complaint issue and even provides video evidence to back it up. And with the closing of his post asks some vital questions of his own

Round 2 sheepslayer247

Final round:

Vkey08 again starts out on a hostile tone, but follows up with several good points..this is her best laid post of the debate, if she would have started at this pace, it would be a different debate...however she seems to to have noticed the questions asked by sheep..questions that should be answered..

Sheepslayer247: he goes right for the heart, pointing out the questions he asked going unanswered, then in a good tactical move, he answers his own questions, letting the reader leave with those answers..
all in all a great debate..with sheepslayer247 showing we should keep the postal service

Final round and debate: Sheepslayer247

Its a TIE ladies and gentlemen...

A third judge needs to be called in to settle the matter...

posted on Feb, 10 2013 @ 08:38 AM
Judgment 3:

In the first round, Sheepslayer247’s post about US post’s economy is right on target and he does make good points about the private sector not having the infrastructure to support such an endeavour. Vkey08’s brief post is more like a rant on how lousy the US Postal service is.

First Round: sheepslayer247

The second round is once more sheepslayer247’s, who comes out with an excellent reply to his opponent’s Socratic question and nails this second round’s coffin with accurate rebuttals to his opponent’s extended version of just how lousy the US Postal service is.

Second Round: sheepslayer247

The third round is a very interesting one. Vkey08 finally expands her thoughts and explains the reasons why the postal service is lacking but her solution of a National Mail Service is somewhat of a strange idea and her opponent successfully picks up on it.

Sheepslayer247 also demonstrated throughout the match that the US Postal service might need an overhaul but to shut it down or switch it to the private sector isn’t the solution.

Match Winner: sheepslayer247, hands down.

Thank you to both fighters for a good read.

sheepslayer247 is the winner of this debate. Congratulations!!!!!

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